Saturday, June 9, 2012

Washingtin Post article did not tell much about Deaf History ...

On the B2 page of Washington Post newspaper, Saturday, June 9, 2012 on the "Metro" Section. The Washington Post newspaper did not mention anything much about the history of Deaf people being the part of Calvary Baptist church's 150th Anniversary.

Many of you, Deaf/deaf/HOH and Deaf-ally people would see very familiar landmark in the present DC's Chinatown/Gallery Place neighborhood - the reddish church building overseen the main intersection of
Chinatown/Gallery Place - 7th and H Street, Northwest. Although, the Calvary Baptist church is located on
the 8th and H Street half the block from the "Fuddrucker" burger place and across from the "Subway" eatery.

Not many Deaf people within the modern generation past the 1970s, realized that the Calvary Baptist church had the everlasting history of Deaf people being much part of this historic church.

According to the Washington Post and Calvary Baptist church website, Amos Kendall bought the land plot for the new church - the Sixth Street Baptist church to be renamed later as "Calvary Baptist church". Kendall was the former postmaster under Andrew Jackson's presidential administration and bought the large tract of undeveloped land well known as "Kendall Green" for the future site of Kendall School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University (formerly named as "National Deaf-Mutes College" and "Gallaudet College").

The first President of the National Deaf-Mutes College/Gallaudet University, Edward Miner Gallaudet, frequently volunteered to sign-interpret the church services for Deaf church parishioners most of his time resided in Washington, DC. Nobody offered the sign-language interpretation after 1888 as what Francis Higgins wrote in the history of Deaf Calvary Baptist paper. The sign-language interpretation was brought back in 1908 for deaf congregations.

The Calvary Baptist church was most progressive Baptist church from the admittance of African Americans as church members back in 1955 and opposed slavery and embraced concept of multi-ethnic/racial diversity for the church membership throughout decades. Very beautiful historical illustration of Calvary Baptist church lined with street-lined trees on H Street shown with this link unlike the present Chinatown/Gallery Place scenario.

Francis Higgins, the former physics professor at Gallaudet College/University, used to be the layman for the deaf church service from the 1940s to 1970s. Higgns played the prominent role within the Calvary Baptist church. He also wrote the history of Calvary Baptist Church for Deaf which the manuscript preserved at the Library of Congress and Gallaudet University Archives -

The 100th Anniversary of Calvary Baptist Church had  also been featured in "Deaf Mosiac" tv programming under Gallaudet University's TV/Film Department - Deaf Mosaic: No. 9 [Videocassette]. (1986). Washington, DC: Gallaudet College.4th FLOOR HV2545 .D44 no.9 (30 min.) Signed and captioned

The presence of Calvary Baptist church is much a reminder of how Deaf/deaf people is part of the downtown DC/Chinatown/Gallery Place/Penn Quarters neighborhood history, ex. the former clubhouse of the deaf on the grounds of the current Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) headquarter building.

The present Chinatown/Gallery Place neighborhood still draw Deaf people for the entertainment and dining activities nowaday. Numerous federal agencies within this neighborhood have handful of Deaf federal employees visibly seen around the Chinatown/Gallery Place.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason aka RLM (RLMDEAF)

1 comment:

  1. Many well-known personalities including the President of the United States, Warren Harding patronized the Calvary Baptist Church while he was still the president.